WINDHOEK: The Bankers Association of Namibia (BAN) has warned the public about fraudsters targeting businesses in Namibia.
BAN chairman Christo de Vries said in a statement issued here on Tuesday that the association is committed to educate consumers about various types of financial fraud, and how bank clients can protect themselves from fraudsters by being alert and recognising the signs of fraudulent schemes and scams.
“Although customers of the various banks have been warned via the media and also via personal electronic-mails and correspondence, it seems as if the “Change of Banking Details” and/or “Letterhead” scams are escalating,” said de Vries.
He said customers have made transfers to fraudulently-opened accounts in South Africa and Namibia, after having reacted to letters received, advising new banking details.
De Vries added that the scam works in the form of a letter sent on a fraudulent letterhead, supposedly from a supplier/creditor, which indicates that they have changed their banking details.
He said the new banking details are also conveniently provided. Some of the creditors would then make an electronic payment to this newly-provided account, only to discover at a later stage, when the legitimate supplier queries non-payment, that the provided bank details was a scam.
De Vries, who is also the Managing Director of Bank Windhoek, said the scam recently escalated to a new level of authenticity, as fraudsters now even quote the debtor’s account number, outstanding balance owed to their creditor and their actual address.
He said the notification of account change is received by e-mail, which appears to have originated from the client’s e-mail system.
“We would like to warn all customers, and request them to take the time to phone any debtors and to make 100 per cent sure that indeed banking details have changed,” he said.
De Vries advised members of the public to inform officials in commercial banks’ debtors’ departments not to distribute account information to anyone, unless they can identify the person requesting the information; not to change debtors’ account information, unless it is authorised and verified; and never verify any information by calling the telephone number on a letter/e-mail that is sent to them, but rather use the bank’s internal system for contact details or the local telephone directory.
He further urged banks’ creditors’ departments not to change bank account details without first confirming account name and account number with the relevant bank.